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Mr. Reid 23, Us 12, Romney 10, Obama 7, Mr. Kyl 7, Mr. Mccain 7, Arizona 6, Libya 5, America 5, Mccain 5, Cincinnati 5, Iowa 5, United States 5, Tim Burke 4, Grassley 4, Ohio 4, United States Senate 3, Benghazi 3, Nebraska 3, Mr. Grassley 3,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    September 19, 2012
    5:00 - 8:00pm EDT  

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now is the time, mr. president, now is the time. we have got an opportunity here to take a bill that does good things for this country across the board, that quite frankly if a vote was held on this bill today, i'm confident would pass with a large bipartisan majority. but as long as we're going to play political games and as long as we'll hold stuff up, we will never get to the point where we'll do what's right by the american people. mr. president, i urge we get to work and get her done. with that, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. i would ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: mr. president, earlier today i voted against invoking cloture on the motion to proceed to a six-month
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spending bill, a stopgap measure. and i want to explain to my colleagues and my constituents why i voted that way. i am deeply disappointed that the senate has been unable to complete the annual appropriations bills on time before the start of the new fiscal year. this is a failure that only reinforces the public's perception of gridlock in washington. mr. president, it's not as if the start of a fiscal year is a surprise to members of this body. it happens every year on october 1. we know that the spending authority is going to run out
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and we know that one of the most important responsibilities of the congress is to pass the appropriations bills. well, the house of representatives has managed to pass seven of the 12 annual spending bills. the senate majority leader regrettably has not brought a single regulation appropriations bill to the senate floor for consideration. it's important to note that the senate appropriations committee did its job. thanks to the leadership of chairman inouye and vice chairman cochran, we have reported 11 of the 12 appropriations bills, in many cases with strong bipartisan support. for example, as the ranking
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member of the appropriations subcommittee on transportation and housing and urban development, i worked very closely with the subcommittee's chairman, senator patty murray, to craft a truly bipartisan bill for fiscal year 2013. the bill strikes a balance between fiscal investment and fiscal restraint. in fact, this bill honors an allocation that is nearly $14.5 billion or 22% less than the fiscal year 2010 levels. these deep cuts reflect an even deeper commitment to getting our fiscal house in order. i'm proud of the work that senator murray and i did on this bill and the strong bipartisan
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vote of 28-1 this bill received from the appropriations committee this past april. like our bill, the agriculture appropriations bill, the commerce, justice, and science bill, the department of defense bill, energy and water, homeland security, legislative branch, military construction and veterans' affairs and the state department and foreign operations bills were all reported from the appropriations committee on a bipartisan basis. in putting together all of these bills, the appropriations committee functioned the way committees are supposed to. we worked together to develop thoughtful and fiscalfully --
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fiscally responsible bills that could be brought to the senate for full consideration, debate, amendment and most likely, passage. but instead, mr. president, not a single one of those bills, not even those bills for which the counterpart has been passed by the full house, was brought to the senate floor. i'm very disappointed that the house and senate leaders have announced that rather than consider and complete these appropriations bills, they would instead kick the can down the road by passing a six-month stopgap funding bill. and the house has done just that, and will soon leave town. with two weeks left in the fiscal year, it's still not too late.
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there's no reason why the individual spending bills could not be brought to the senate floor allowing senators to offer amendments and letting the senate work its will on this important constitutional responsibility. mr. president, given the state of our nation's economy and the need to ensure that tax dollars are wisely and appropriately spent, it's simply unacceptable that we would agree to put our government on auto pilot for the next six months rather than working together to establish priorities, make the tough choices to evaluate programs, and to restrain spending. long-term continuing resolutions such as the one we are about to
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consider represent an abdication of our responsibility, and often end up with government departments and agencies, particularly the department of defense, incurring additional costs due to delays and uncertainty. think how difficult it is for federal managers to decide whether they can enter into long-term contracts, to consider changes in programs, to manage the dollars that they have when they don't know what's going to happen six months from now. in some cases we do even shorter continuing resolutions that create chaos and additional costs throughout the federal government. as our nation struggles to
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recover and to regain its economic footing, we must provide more certainty by completing appropriations bills on time. i'm extremely disappointed that this did not occur for fiscal year 2013, and therefore i will continue to oppose the continuing resolution to protest what i believe is a failure of leadership. now, let me be clear. i do not support a government shutdown. but it is unacceptable that not a single one of the regular appropriations bills has been brought to the senate floor for consideration. indeed, mr. president, it has
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been more than three years since the senate has passed a budget. this is simply wrong. we must do our work. the american people deserve better. thank you, mr. president. seeing no one seeking the floor, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. johanns: i ask the quorum call be set aside. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns: i ask to speak five minutes as if in morning
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business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. johanns i'm here to recognize two -- mr. johanns: i'm here to recognize two incredible heroes from blue hills, nebraska, amidst a terrible tragedy. on september 5, an accident between a school bus and a semi trailer claimed the lives of four members of this close-knit farming community in webster county, nebraska. my thoughts and my prayers continue to be with the victims, their loved ones, and the entire blue hill community during this very, very tragic time. but through the sorrow of this terrible tragedy a story has emerged that truly epitomizes the word "hero." as one nebraska newspaper said -- and i quote -- "by the grace of god not all of the kids riding the bus home from school have been buried." but their fates could have been much different if not for two
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guardian angels." unquote. you see, there were five other students riding the bus that today who because of the selfless actions of two brave men are still alive today. ron mire and -- ron meyer and phil peter arrived on this horrific scene just moments after the crash. immediately the two ran bravely onto the burning bus, risking their own lives to save the lives of others. they swiftly and courageously pulled five children to safety. a nearby rancher who witnessed their actions said he is sure the five survivors would have encountered a much different fate had ron and phil not been there that day. they are guardian angels whose heroic actions will never be forgotten. there were other heroes who arrived on the scene and acted quickly to provide care.
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first responders who deserve also to be commended. first responders risked their lives to save others each and every day just as our gratitude to them should be expressed throughout the year. but special recognition is owed to average citizens who happen upon horrific scenes and do heroic things. though ron and phil would never ask for it, many in this community have called for their heroism to be recognized and to be honored, and i could not agree more. their willingness to risk their own lives to save others serves as a source of inspiration for all of us. so i'm honored to call them my fellow nebraskans and i want to say personally thank you, thank you for your courage and your selflessness. acknowledging their heroism in
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no way lifts the grief and the sorrow that gripped the community and our state after this crash. i pray that god brings peace and healing to all those who have been affected. but because of ron and phil, my prayer is also a prayer of gratitude. i thank god for these heroes. i know that no recognition can adequately convey the gratitude felt by the families of the five children whom they saved from this burning bus. but, mr. president, i stand before you today on behalf of the blue hill community and all of my fellow nebraskans to offer my deepest appreciation to ron meyer and phil peter. may god bless them and may god bless all those affected by this terrible crash. mr. president, thank you. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call: quorum call: quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. grassley: is the process that we're in morning business? the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. grassley: i ask the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. the majority leader. objection is heard.
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. predent, we're trying to finish all the issues, work through the issues we need to address before we can finish this work period. i want to make it very clear to everyone, as i said a couple hours ago here on the floor, we can finish all of our work tomorrow. but if we don't finish it tomorrow, we're going to continue to work on friday, saturday, sunday, monday and tuesday until late in the afternoon. we have to get done a few things that are important. i know there are a lot of things that we aren't going to be able
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to do, but that's the way it's been all congress. i'm prepared to consent to move along on one very significant part of what we need to do. the consent that i will read into the record in a short time addresses voting on the continuing resolution that we need to do to keep the government running. it addresses gets voting on the very different concerns of others who have sought to hold up consideration of the continuing resolution. i believe with this consent, we have gone that extra mile. the senator from kentucky, the junior senator from kentucky, senator paul, has been said to be holding up everything. we have two ambassadors, american ambassadors, one to iraq, one to pakistan. you would think that we should be able to get this done. we have had something that is extremely important sponsored by i think 81 senators, a containment resolution relating
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to iran. so, without belaboring the point, i have worked things out with senator paul. we're going to have a vote on something that he's wanted a vote on for a long time. we can do that. i explained to a few republicans earlier today, in fact some last night indicating i was working with senator paul, and i think we have done that. he has been reasonable and he's been, even though ideologically sometimes i disagree with him, i always found him somebody that you can talk to. so i would be terribly disappointed, mr. president, if this person who has been said by the republicans to be holding up everything now isn't holding up everything, and the republicans, it appears if there's an
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objection to this, they're just hiding behind him, because there's no reason we shouldn't be able to move forward with this legislation. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that not withstanding cloture having been invoked at a time to be determined by me after consultation with senator mcconnell it be in order and the senate proceed to consideration of s. 3576, which is legislation i just referred to introduced by senator paul. the text of which is at the desk. that there be up to 60 minutes of debate equally divided between senators paul and kerry or their designees, that upon the use or yielding back of that time the senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill, that the vote on passage be subject to a 60-vote affirmative threshold and that the bill doesn't achieve that 60 votes, it will be considered as having been read twice, placed on the calendar, that following the vote on passage of that legislation, s. 3576, the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 418, s.j. res.
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41, there be up to 60 minutes of debate equally divided between senators kerry and paul or their designees, that upon use or yielding back of that time the senate proceed to vote on passage of the joint resolution. that if the joint resolution is not passed it be returned to the calendar. following the vote on the joint resolution the senate resume consideration of h.j. res. 117, the continuing resolution, that the motion to proceed be agreed to, there be up to 60 minutes of debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to a vote on passage of the joint resolution. the vote on passage be subject to 60 vote-affirmative threshold. following the vote the majority leader be recognized. finally, no amendments, motions are points of order be in order during the consideration of these measures. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. kyl: mr. president, reserving the right to object, i appreciate the majority leader's attempt to put several of these items together. i would note our side has only had a little over an hour to
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work this through our membership. there is one objection i'll need to interpose here. but i would encourage the majority leader to meet with senator mcconnell when he is available so that they can continue to try to work on this as a potential way to proceed. but at this time, on behalf of senator john mccain, i'll interpose an objection. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the majority leader. mr. reid: everyone within the sound of my voice should understand that again we shouldn't be surprised, i guess, even though there had been all of this focus on senator paul, that he was holding everything up, that's really not the way it is. he's not holding everything up. it's the republicans. all of this has been cleared on my side. and it's really unfortunate. we'll continue to work to reach an agreement. we need to move this vote on the
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c.r. unless we have some agreement, it's going to occur, i think 8:45 tomorrow, tomorrow night. that's when the 30 hours expires. so i think that we need to continue to see if we can work our way through a logjam that the republicans have put up here. if nothing happens, we'll be out of here in a little bit tonight and proceed to vote tomorrow night. but rand paul is not holding things up as has been rumored around here for weeks. mr. president, on july 25 the senate conducted two important votes on dealing with the so-called fiscal cliff. that day the senate voted on extension of the tax cuts enacted in 2001, 2003, and 2009. the democrats and a majority of the senate voted to extend tax cuts for 98% of american families while at the same time
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reducing the deficit by $1 trillion over ten years. republicans, on the other hand, insisted on a vote on their plan, a plan that provided tax breaks averaging $160,000 for millionaires at the same time it increased taxes by $1,000 for 25 million middle-class families. on july 25 we held votes on those two plans. the senate voted down the republican plan on a bipartisan basis by a vote of 45-54. the senate passed the democrats' plan by a vote of 51-48. since then the house of representatives also voted on this matter and the house sent the senate its revenue measure. now that we have the, have had the debate, the votes, it's time to go to conference with the house. the senate has voted and so has the house. it's time for us to resolve our differences. we believe that the tax extenders should not apply to
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people making more than $250,000 a year. we should extend it for people making less than $250,000 a year. so let's have a conference on this. this process would be important. unfortunately, i'm sorry to say, mr. president, my republican friends often place roadblocks in the way of routine senate business. it wasn't long ago this would be routine. last week moody's said it would probably cut america's credit rating if congress couldn't reduce long term deficit reduction. the bill congress passed in july is a big part of dealing with fiscal cliff and the american people deserve their leaders to move to advance this legislation and that is why i'm going to ask the following consent which is simply going to conference on a bill that has passed the house and a bill that has passed the
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senate. so i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to calendar number 502, h.r. 8, all after the clause be stricken, the text of s. 3412, a bill to extend the tax cuts i referred to, 2001, 2003, 2009, for 98% of americans, 97% of all small businesses which passed the senate july 25, be inserted in lieu thereof that the be amended be read a third time passed, request a conference on the disagreeing votes with the two houses and the chair be authorized to appoint conferees on the part of the senate consisting of the membership of the finance committee with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. kyl: i would ask the agreement be modified rather than amending h.r. 8 would be considered and read a third time and passed, this request would let that vote go directly to the president's desk. the presiding officer: is
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there objection to modification? the majority leader. mr. reid: i hope the record can pick up the smile on my face. why in the world would the senate, when it's already acted to, with the majority of the senate saying we do not believe that there should be taxes extended to the rich, we believe in protecting the middle class, and so why in the world would we agree to extending all these tax cuts? we can't do that. that was a bipartisan vote set out in the senate. that was the senate's position. we're asking to go to conference on the senate's position. the other side is insisting the minority position prevail. that's an unusual situation, and that's not the way democracy in america works. so i would not accept his modification to my request. the presiding officer: is there objection to the senator's original request? the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: as i understand the unanimous consent request of the majority leader is that we
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have 60 minutes equally divided and a vote on a rand amendment. is that correct? is that correct? mr. reid: it would be 60 minutes on the amendment equally divided between senator kerry and senator paul. if the senator wants more time, we're not doing much now, we can have more time. mr. mccain: i would hope that the majority leader would have some understanding, we're talking about cutting off aid to several countries who are allies, which could have an incredible effect on the entire middle east, and the majority leader wants to have a 60 minutes equally divided on a measure that if passed would have the most draconian effects on the entire middle east, a country that, a part of the world that is in turmoil now? and the majority leader wants to
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have 60 minutes equally divided? and with no amendments obviously, as is the majority leader's practice, is not to allow any amendments. i may want to amend it. i may would like to have a side-by-side. this is an issue of the utmost gravity and the utmost importance, and the majority leader wants to have an hour equally divided. it's absolutely mind-boggling, mind-boggling, i say. and if we are going to cut off all aid to several of our allies that -- including the egyptian -- the camp david agreements which called for aid to egypt, including an ally in the region called libya that we've just lost our brave ambassador and the majority leader wants to have 60 minutes equally divided? and with no one allowed to have any amendments, second-degree,
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side-by-side? and then says republicans are at fault? well, i tell you, i've watched this senate, i say to the majority leader, deteriorate in a way that's almost spectacular. and now here we are on the day before the majority leader wants us to go out of session and we're supposed to just have a vote on an amendment that has the most profound effect on this nation's security with 60 minutes, equally divided. i don't have a smile on my face. i don't have a smile on my face, i tell the majority leader. i have a look of incredible dismay and disgust. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: it would seem to me that the senator's concern should be directed towards senator paul, not me. we have -- and it sounds to me that he may vote against the paul amendment, from basically what i heard. and if he's that concerned about
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it, i think we should get it up and have a -- if he wants more time, we'd be happy to have more time on it. but i don't think at this stage anything -- there's no amendments would be called for. i think we should vote on the paul amendment. the point being, mr. president -- and i think it's pretty clear as to what's gone on this past congress. when the republican leader says his number-one issue is to make sure obama doesn't get reelected, i think that probably is what's held up this congress from doing all kinds of things. and let me remind everyone, mr. president. since i have been the majority leader, which has been six yea years, we've had to try to overcome 380 -- this is two now -- republican filibusters. during the same period of time, six years, that lyndon johnson was president -- was majority leader before he became president, he to file cloture once.
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so this is what -- that my friend from arizona. we've served together now 30 years in the congress. so his agitation should not be directed toward me. they're the ones holding up hundreds of bills in the energy committee and basically everything we've tried to do because their number-one goal, if they follow their leader -- and they've done a pretty good job doing that -- has been to make sure that the country's in such a shape that maybe -- maybe -- they may get lucky and have governor romney elected. so if -- there's been an objection by the assistant majority leader. i understand that. but don't be blaming rand paul for everything held up. here's what we have held up. i mentioned just briefly, wouldn't it be nice if america had an impass ambassador to ira? wouldn't it be nice if america had an ambassador to pakistan? wouldn't it be nice if a piece of legislation that has 81 cosponsors dealing with iran, a
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containment resolution, that we could vote on that? so, mr. president, as i've indicated, this will be the third time today, we have work to do. ain't lot but we have work to do -- not a hot but we have work to do. one is to pass the continuing resolution. and we will do that. we can either do it the hard way or the easy way. as you know from the vote on the motion to proceed to that, there's overwhelming support for it. that was as bipartisan as anything could be. the speaker and i worked on this with our staffs. we came up with something i think is pretty fair. so we're going to pass that. and if republicans want to stall on that like they have everything else, they can do that. but we're going to finish this. they -- that's -- the american people need that done and we're going to get it done. it may take a vote on -- let's see if i can figure this out -- let's see, thursday -- it may take a volt o vote on saturday,y
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take one on sunday but we're going to finish the c.r. so everyone should understand that. we're not going anyplace. and i -- my number-one place to go is the senate and that's my life is the senate. so i -- i'm going to be here. and make sure that we do as much as -- as much of the people's business as we can, despite their number-one goal, being to defeat obama, doing work for the american people. so as i understand it, mr. president, the request that i made has been objected to, the request that the the senator from arizona made, that's been objected to. is that right? a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader's original request as to h.r. 8 has not been objected to. mr. kyl: the leader is right with regard to intentions. his intentions was to object to my request. mine is to object to his request
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and i do object. the presiding officer: objections are heard. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: last month the senate finance committee reported legislation, bipartisan legislation, by the way, on what are called the tax extenders. the finance committee tax extender legislation addresses a significant part of the so-called fiscal cliff. the finance committee bill would extend relief from the alternative minimum tax through 2013. it would extend tax incentives for renewable energy and energy conservation through 2013. and it would extend through 2013 the traditional tax extenders, among which are the r&d tax credit, the state and local sales tax deduction, and tuition deduction. the finance committee reported that bill with a strong, bipartisan vote of 19-5.
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the bill cuts taxes by $205 billion. it cuts taxes by $143 billion in fiscal year 2013 alone. passing this bill today would help remove some of the uncertainty surrounding tax policy. tassing this bill today -- passing this bill today would help our economy. passing this bill is the least we should do now. so i ask, mr. president, unanimous consent the senate finance committee be discharged from further consideration of h.r. 9, that a baucus amendment which is at the desk, the text of which is identical to s. 3521, the family and business tax cut certainty of 2012, as reported by the finance committee, be reported -- be agreed to, i'm sorry, that the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, the motions to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to this matter be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. kyl: mr. president, reserving right to object. it is our view that the extension of many provisions of
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the tax code, which is the subject of the leader's request here, makes some sense if we extend all of the provisions of the tax code that we can. and with that in mind, i would ask that the consent be modified so that the text of house-passed bill h.r. 8 be added to the substitute referred to by the leader. further, that the bill then be read a third time and passed as amended. mr. reid: may the record reflect i'm scowling, not smiling. no. mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: we've already rejected that position. that's not how things work in a democracy. i think -- i doubt anyplace else, so i would object to my friend's suggested modification. the presiding officer: is there objection to the original request? mr. kyl: we would also object then to the original request. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. mccain: will the majority leader yield? mr. reid: sure. mr. mccain: i'd just like to point out i'm not against the rand paul amendment be voted on by the united states senate.
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i do object to the -- an hour equally divided. i object to the fact that we do not have either side-by-side or second-degree amendments, which is the normal parliamentary procedure. and since -- since the majority leader had to inject the number-one objective is defeat barack obama routine again, i would like to point out, this is the least productive congress since 1947. that we have for the first time in 51 years, we're not taking up the defense authorization bill. for the first time in 51 years, when we are fighting a war in afghanistan, that we can't find the time -- we can't find the time in the united states senate to take up the bill that's so important to the security of this nation. so the majority leader should be proud of his record, as i
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mentioned, including the fact that this congress is the least productive since 1947, but most of all, in 50 years -- in 50 years -- we have not taken up the defense authorization bill and we've taken it up for 50 years because other majority leaders who set the calendar have understood the importance to the men and women who are serving in our military and our national security. and i again urge -- i urge, instead of this back-and-forth and mutual objections and nothing getting done around he here, i know and the majority leader knows that we could take up the defense authorization bill and get it done in a matter of a few days and we could have since june. but instead we do this back-and-forth which makes us the least productive congress since 1947 and an approval rating of the american people that deservedly is in the single digits. so i repeat, i will be glad to enter into a unanimous consent
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agreement on the rand amendment, although i also would tell my -- my the majority leader, we may not be establishing a precedent that one senator -- one senato senator -- will hold up the entire united states senate until that senator gets the vote that he is demanding. i could hold up the united states senate and demand a vote on the -- on the national defense authorization act, which was reported to this body in june. i could hold up and smart kyl could hold up this -- senator kyl could hold up this body and hold it hostage for a vote because of the various pieces of legislation that they have. i'm not doing that. but i am saying, when we're looking at an issue as serious to this nation's security as cutting off all aid in one fell swoop without even amending or without -- with an hour of discussion, i think is -- is almost incredible that we would consider such a -- a parliamentary procedure when we're talking about what's at
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stake. so i -- i hope that we can work out an agreement. i don't feel like staying here this weekend either. but i also have some concern about the safety and security of the -- of the men and women who are serving in our diplomatic corps overseas, because if that amendment did pass, i guarantee you, you would see a reaction in these countries that we have announced arbitrarily that we're cutting off all aid to them. so i think we ought to understand the consequences of the rand amendment and it probably would take more than an hour equally divided. and i thank the majority leader for listening. mr. reid: my friend -- and he is my friend, i have great admiration and respect for the senior senator from arizona -- makes my case. he is absolutely right. this is the most, i'm sorry to say, the least productive congress perhaps ever. why? because everything we've tried to do, everything we've tried to
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do they've objected to. everything. we have made a few, once in awhile we're able to work together and get something done. but he has made my case for me. absolutely because their number-one goal has been to defeat the president of the united states for reelection. now, i -- we've had a lot of debate. senator paul has been here many times talking about this issue. i am -- i have no lock on wisdom around here. there are a lot of people have much more wisdom than i do. but i do have the obligation to try to move this legislation along and things that we have to work on here. if people want more time on th this, fine. i -- i have worked with senator paul. he's agreed to this. if -- if there's some reasonable changes, i'll agree to those. i mean, i'm not -- i'm not locked in. but they -- whoever wants to do this, i would suggest they go to senator paul, not to me. i'm happy to be a conduit to try
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to get something done here that's reasonable and fair. and if an hour's too short, what is -- you know, we're -- we haven't been doing much today. there's plenty of time to debate stuff. so i'm happy to do that. but, mr. president, i understand the rules of the senate fairly well and this is no first time a senator has held things u. i came here during the -- heltd things up. i came here during the howard metzenbaum days, the senator from ohio, and he was pretty good at slowing things down and holding things up. jesse helms was really good at it. and we've had a number of others. so i'm -- as i've said here on the floor, i -- i think we should change some of the rules around here. i'm not for getting rid of the filibuster. i don't want to get rid of the filibuster, but we need to change the filibuster rule. why should we have on every piece of legislation a motion to proceed? it takes me a week -- it takes the senate a week to get on a bill when a single senator
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objects to it. that doesn't sound very good to me. so i hope with the new congress we can change some of the rules around here. but i'm happy to work with my friend from arizona. i know that he is really someone who travels the world. he has been in the forefront of changes that have taken place in this world and i understand his concern about this legislation. but if he has some -- something else he thinks might work better than this, talk to senator paul. i'm always reachable. any time of the night or day. mr. kyl: mr. president, might i just make a response to the leader. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: will my colleague just yield? mr. kyl: sure. mr. mccain: i believe it's senator paul who sets the parameters for how many hours of debates and others. i believe it's the majority leader. and could i talk to the majority leader about how long the debate should be and whether we can have amendments or not? that's all i'm saying. mr. reid: well, i would -- i
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will say this, so we'll save a lot of trouble for everybody. we're not going to have amendments to this. we're -- the amendment days are over. weefb -- we have been blindsided many times on amendments. i'll be happy if my friend can come up with something that will allow maybe a side-by-side or something, i'm happy to do that. but we're -- i'm open to negotiations in any way that's reasonable. and if someone doesn't want to contact rand paul, i will. i mean, if somebody feels awkward doing that, i don't. i have -- i feel totally free to talk to any senator about anything and that's why i reached out to rand paul. mr. kyl: mr. president, might i just continue here? i think the point is that this unanimous consent request was made before everyone had been fully consulted. i appreciate the leader's trying to move things along but it does illustrate the proposition that everyone needs to be consulted so that the question of the time and potential other considerations could be dealt
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with. and i suspect that through the leader's good offices, that will be done this evening and tomorrow morning and perhaps something can be worked out, as i said when i interposed my objection. but the one point i wanted to make is this. the objection that i interposed on behalf of senator mccain tonight has nothing whatsoever to do with the romney campaign against president obama. you just heard my colleague, senator mccain, talking about the concerns he has cutting off aid cold turkey to some very important countries in the world in the middle of a crisis. who will be another speaker raising those same concerns tomorrow? our democratic colleague, senator kerry. this is a bipartisan question of whether this is the right policy for our country. i suspect the obama administration and the president himself would generally be supportive of the position expressed by senator mccain and senator kerry. so i wish we could have a
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conversation around here just once without having it portrayed as some kind of partisan political exercise. this is not a partisan political exercise. it's a question of reasonable people having different views about what the best policy is and the lives of americans are on the line, so it needs to be considered carefully, thoroughly and with other options possibly being -- being raised. that's what my colleague, senator mccain, is saying. that's why i interposed the objection on his behalf. and i really do think that if the parties can get together tonight and tomorrow, potentially work out a way to approach the issue so it can be debated for the appropriate length of time and any alternatives might be presented and then we could -- we could move on with things. but let's do it in the context of the issue before us, not suggesting that it has something to do with the presidential campaign because that would be incorrect. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid reid: the reason that t after that is because my friend, senator mccain, talked about how on little we've accomplished
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here. huh. i didn't bring that up. i indicated why we've accomplished so little. now, i would also say to my two republican friends who are here on the floor -- there's three actually -- this. the resolution, the piece of legislation that senator allputting forward, i'm not going to -- paul is putting forward, i'm not going to vote for it. senator paul knows that. democrats aren't going to vote for this. the problem is the republicans are split, not us. they're split. their own caucus is split as to what to do with the paul amendment. not us. so i'm happy to work with everybody. i have conferred -- and i say to my -- the republican assistant leader, i talked to my leadership team this morning. i talked to my caucus today about this. the republicans have a caucus the same time we do and they knew -- and they knew before the caucus because everybody knew -- what was going on with this. it was no secret. i talked to republican senators before their caucus. so this is no surprise.
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our time that i put was arbitrary. i acknowledge that. but if somebody wants more time to debate this issue, i'm fine. i don't care. so i appreciate my friends' involvement, both of them. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: as a member of senatorial courtesy, since i'm referring to things that the majority leader has said previously -- not recently but previously, i have informed him of what i was going to say. on august the 2nd, the majority leader decided that the valuable time of this body would be best employed by speculating on the contents of the tax returns of presidential candidate, governor mitt romney. these remarks also touched on the vetting process of the senate finance committee, so
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it's that aspect of this that i want to refer to. as a senior member of the finance committee as well as former chairman and ranking member, i have come to familiarize my colleagues with the committee's vetting process. on thursday, august the 2nd, the majority leader exclaimed -- quote -- "as we know, he has refused to release his tax returns. if a person coming before this body wanted to be a cabinet officer, he couldn't be if he had the same refusal mitt romney does about tax returns." this statement demonstrates a misunderstanding of the confirmation process for cabinet officials in the finance committee vetting process in particular. the fact is, most prospective cabinet officers do not need to disclose their tax returns. actually, no prospective cabinet
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officer is required to make the returns public in ordinary circumstances. to my knowledge, the finance committee is the only committee that asks nominees to provide copies of tax returns. specifically, the finance committee asks that nominees provide copies of their last three federal tax returns. the committee may request further returns if it is warranted by the circumstances of that particular time. the committee asks for this information for a few reasons. to begin with, many nominees referred to the finance committee, such as the secretary of treasury, the commissioner of the i.r.s., will be able to exercise significant influence over tax policy and administration. additionally, the examination of a nominee's tax return sheds light on the nominee's charact
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character. over the last few years, several high-flyers in the obama administration have come up short when measured by their tax returns. therefore, the vetting process utilized by the finance committee has received a lot of attention. only two cabinet officers and one position with the status of cab felt rank are referred to the finance committee. these are the secretaries of treasury and the department of health and human services, as well as the united states trade representative. as i said before, to my knowledge, the finance committee is the only committee of the senate to request copies of actual tax returns. this means that not counting the vice president, there are 19 members of the cabinet who do not release their tax returns during the senate confirmation process. as i said, no cabinet official
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is required to make his or her tax returns public. this goes to the details of the finance committee's vetting process. all nominees referred to the committee are required to submit copies of their last three filed tax returns. these copies, along with other financial data, are shared with a very limited number of staff specifically designated by the chairman and ranking member of the senate finance committee. while being reviewed, the returns themselves are kept under a very tight control. most staff for the committee and ranking member do not have access to the tax returns. neither the chairman nor the ranking member may unilaterally release the tax returns or information obtained from those tax returns. this means that even when i was chairman, the committee rules prohibited me from unilaterally
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releasing a nominee's tax return or even making public that nominee's specific tax information. when an issue is identified pertaining to a nominee's tax information, the chairman and the ranking member jointly determine how to proceed. information is only released under bipartisan agreement and after consultation with the nominee. for example, secretary geithner was given the opportunity to withdraw his nomination before the world learned of his failure to pay all of his taxes. he was also provided an opportunity to review the bipartisan memo that the committee eventually released. in sum, then, no nominee vetted by the needs to make their tax returns public, and in the majority of the cases, no information is released.
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additionally, the purpose of the vetting is not to damage the credibility of the nominee. i bet those seeking governor romney's tax returns are operating under a completely different standard. i especially find it interesting that the majority leader compared governor romney to cabinet officials when speculating as to the contents of governor romney's returns. there seems to be an implication that a discovery of unsatisfied tax obligations would be problematic to the leader. while the majority leader may want to speculate as to whether or not governor romney has paid his taxes, there are nominees and officials of the current administration we know did not completely satisfy their tax obligations. i will start this trip down memory lane with our current treasury secretary. due to a large -- due in large part to his failure to pay
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self-employment taxes, irregulators in mr. geithner -- irregular layerities in mr. geithner's returns ended up him owing $248,000,26,268 in moo the i.r.s. head to may read the bipartisan memo made by the finance committee which is part of the record of his january 2009 nomination hearing. as i said, we don't need to speculate whether or not secretary geithner completed -- completely paid his taxes. we know as a fact that he did not, to the tune of over $48,000. secretary kathleen sebelius disclosed that in preparation of her confirmation, she filed amended tax returns for 2005, 2006, and 2007. she voluntarily made this information public in the form
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of a letter to chairman baucus and me. this letter was printed in the record of her nomination heari hearing. the results of those amended returns was that she paid a total of $7,040 in additional taxes and $878 in interest to the internal revenue service. finally, i want to mention former senator tom daschle, who was the administration's nominee to be secretary of h.h.s. for a brief period of time in 2009. though mr. daschle withdrew his nomination before the committee held a hearing on his nominati nomination, it was widely reported, including in "the new york times" and "the los angeles times," that he failed to pay more than $128,000 in taxes in the three years prior to his nomination. in mentioning secretaries geithner and is he we'll yus and
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mr. daschle -- geithner and sebelius and mr. daschle, i'm not suggesting anything beyond the reported facts of their circumstances or that their tax errors were intentional. i just wanted to remind the majority leader of these situations where it is not necessary to speculate on whether or not taxes were owed. while i appreciate the leader's newfound attention to the finance committee's vetting process, i want to assure everyone has a clear understanding of how this vetting process of the senate finance committee works. i'd be happy to discuss the committee's procedure with any interested colleague. i'm sure ranking member hatch and his staff would also be happy to discuss the process with anyone who is interested. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, first of all, i extend my appreciation to the senior senator from iowa, senator grassley. he indicated he was going to say a few things about me and i told me beforehand, and i appreciate that. that's the way the senate should operate. i appreciate it very much for my friend from iowa doing that. he came to the floor and in effect said, i've said on a number of occasions but he picked one date that i said governor romney could be confirmed as a cabinet officer, because he -- a cabinet officer
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you have to give at least three years of your tax returns. sometimes they ask for more. so my friend, senator grassley, he came to the floor and suggested that he could be confirmed. not really. the senator from iowa conceded my point. mitt romney could not be confirmed for treasury secretary. he could be confirmed as secretary of health and human services, couldn't be confirmed as trade representatives, assistant secretary for public affairs and a number of other positions. but there's a larger point to be made here, why they would bring this up again, i don't know but they did. but there's a larger point to be made here. when you're running for the highest office in the land -- president of the united states -- you're also held to a higher standard of conduct than someone who wants to be a cabinet officer or subcabinet officer who give us their tax returns. at least mitt romney owes the american people -- at least he owes them some honesty and
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openness. that, we don't have. the senator from iowa is correct about one thing, and this is what he said: the contents of a candidate's taxes do speak volumes about his character. that's what senator grassley said, and i agree with him. let's not forget that mitt romney can solve this problem tomorrow, tonight by releasing his tax returns, which he refuses to do. why? i would ask that my statement appear following the statement by senator grassley in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to a number of measures en bloc. they are resolutions which were submitted earlier today. s. res. 562, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67,
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68, 69 and 70. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the resolutions be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table en bloc, that no further action or debate, any statements related to these russians be printed in the record -- to these resolutions be printed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the foreign relations committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 557. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 557 honoring the contributions of lodi gari, a special envoy of his holiness the dally lamb my in promoting the -- the dalai lama in promoting the rights of the tibet an people.
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mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, there be no intervening action or debate, any statements relating to this matter be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if given. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: s. 3567 is at the desk. i believe it's due for its first reading. the clerk: s. 3576, a bill to provide limitations on united states assistance and for other purposes. mr. reid: i now ask for a second reading but object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent -- the presiding officer: the bill will be read for a second time the next legislative day. mr. reid: pardon me for interrupting the chair. i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, thursday, septembe 20. that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour deemed expired and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, that the majority leader be recognized and that
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the first two hours be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first half, the majority the final half. at 2 p.m. all postcloture time on the motion to proceed to s.j. res. 117, the continuing resolution be considered expired and the senate proceed to vote on the motion to proceed to s.j. res. 117, following that vote i would be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: we will begin consideration of the continuing resolution tomorrow. we hope to reach an agreement to move several votes up and avoid being in session this weekend in order to get our work completed. mr. president, if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate will stand adjourned senate will stand adjourned
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>> the country faces the starkest, starkest choice for president in my memory. you see, the president and i have fundamentally different vision and governor romney and congressman ryan. and a different values that the guide says. >> under the current president, we are at risk of becoming a pork century because he looks to government as the great than a factor in every light. our policy even has a new model.
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it's a quote, government is the only we all blunter. i do know about you, but i have never not of government do something that i belong to. >> on the c-span google placing out our key battlegrounds in this presidential election internist in cincinnati ohio, the chair of the hamilton county ohio democratic party, tim burt in cincinnati and the republican party chair from hamilton county
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unit and from columbus ohio is jim hughes, political correspondent for an esn tv comedy affiliate in that city. gentleman commencing a knack for being us. hamilton county, ohio has traditionally been a republican county. 196,822,004 a traditional public county. and he in 2000 when democratic feared barack obama winning by 25,000 votes for change. >> i'll tell you come a lot of republicans have moved out into surrounding counties, steve. one thing certain in this election, like past elections come in the southwestern of ohio will be pivotal. he's got to give that back and perform better in hamilton county than john mccain did four years ago. there is every expectation that will have been. i think a lot of ohio republicans have privately said they wished rob portman had been on the ticket. portman has a heavy presence and background in hamilton county in
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the southwestern corner of the state. it would've almost assured around the ticket would be very successful they are and probably would've put a shot of enthusiasm into the republican advocates that would not be measured by polls. i know the polls are showing portman was a marginal health, but i don't believe it because they think it would have been. at the end of the day, if a lot of republicans have moved, but they are still very have been the southwestern corner. as democrats and minorities, republicans must have the southwest corner. >> it is a larger sense of politics in ohio with both campaigns are facing in terms of the ground game. >> you know, attend both conventions. in tampa at the republican strategist letellier they go after undecided voters in the state and there's probably only about 5% of ohio and federal quote, unquote society. republicans spend heavily to try to get them because they believe the undecided voter in this
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election cycle with president obama already is not going to be with them. the flipside of that in charlotte is the democrats privately begin to say they are less concerned about winning over those undecided voters than not they want to get out. they believe that if they can do what they did last year in senate bill five, which is a very controversial issue, if they can get the same boat they did to repeal that very controversial anti-union bill, they didn't have a 61% of the vote last november. if they can do that again, they will have a very successful effort for president obama. to republicans come it's their ground game plus trying to pay for the undecided voter. for democrats, is trying to get at their vote, unions, minorities, women, students, try to reinvigorate their faith in order to get out there as speefive though. >> let's turn to the party chair spirit tim burke, chairman of
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the democratic party in hamilton county, ohio. give us a sense of political demographics in your state, in your county and changing. >> this county is almost a 50/50 county between the two parties. cincinnati is heavily democrats. the outside of the city come the rest the county means more republicans. we feel very good about what the democrats are going to do and how president obama will perform in the county this year. we believe hamilton county will go through again. regardie got a office is open for obama with literally got hundreds of volunteers on the phone for now going door to door every day. >> alex ran due from republican county comest cincinnati. but at the demographics? >> the demographics have shifted. i think chairman burke's assessment of the county is as true. i think jim said appropriately as well, this is an up close
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county. president obama didn't win this county for years ago. however, sean casey, our governor won this county again in 2010, so the demographics make this a very close county and we feel similarly confident, frankly. we feel like we've got a traffic energy in our site that we have not had in the last couple of years. there is the tea party energized in this part of the state, particularly in this county comest we have lots of access on the ground. we feel pretty confident. >> at the moment come in the poll numbers showing a lead survey said the president ahead of mitt romney in ohio. why is that? >> welcome here is how we see that. we think a lot of these polls -- first of all think it's have to be in a comment and the postal eventually migrate the right direction. the undecided voters we agree with morris when he says it will break for a candidate. so it is a challenge to get people to want to fire the
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incumbent president. but again, the president has had a good week, but i think people will really ask themselves, are you better off now than you were four years ago? and as this president to serve a second term? of course we don't think he does and we think we're making that coors as we can discuss in hamilton county, steve, we are talking to a lot of voters for the president last time and will not be again. we are not finding the opposite to be true this time. >> tim birkeland, the economics of hamilton county. how is it doing? what is the unemployment rate in the county and what impact will that haven't turn out in the overall results in november? >> let me speak to ohio in general as alex just it. the reason why president obama is doing so well right now has a number of foundations, the biggest one of which may well be the auto rescue. 450,000 jobs in ohio, and many
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right here in southwest ohio depend upon the auto industry. the fact that it's come back as strongly as it is actually has a ohio doing better than the national economy is doing. just yesterday we have president obama here in the individual to introduce him came from at the local steel plant that produces a lattice steel for the automobile industry. that means a great deal to middle-class workers and that is successfully speaking to this election campaign. >> steve, could i decide very quickly that it has created a very interesting political this year. the early part of the year i was covering governor romney in places like the rain, ohio where he was campaigning in shutdowns steel mills and manufacturing plants to close. the team, not at all happy about that because their narrative for the state now as we have an unemployment rate a full point lower than national average. she's sick once to get in ohio
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if he will and the romney campaign now is avoiding that discussion altogether. so both republicans and democrats trying to take credit for improving economic pictures in this day. the differences president obama's first up on the ohio ballot this year. john kasich will have to wait two years. >> go back to the issue of the ground game because we hear about this every two or four years to get out the vote effort. from your honest assessment, tim burke will go with you afterwards. how important is that in a presidential election and how much does that way people who may be undecided to guess and going to vote for this candidate because i have a flyer or received a phone call or somebody knocked on my door? >> you know, those sites probably have bought into this idea that talking to you touching for lack of a better word for undecided voters by their neighbors, by other people can really swing voters. frankly we did it again pretty effectively in 2004.
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i would tell you i think the president and his team to do well in 2008. i think we've got some of that momentum that. we think that talking to voters, knocking on the door and having a conversation, surveying and identifying them and later making sure they get to the polls, we just think that's a really important way to sync the electorate. so we are fully engaged in that process. >> tim burke, your assessment and how important and how much to dissuade the voter? >> for democrats in particular is critical. because it has to build forward and get off operations to get our voters out to the polls. the good thing about the obama game as it's been in place for the last four years. it really got an extraordinary tuneup last year with s.b. five in the referendum to first the repeal of the voter suppression legislation by the republican party. but the obama campaign is incredibly sophisticated could not only have they been out
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touching as they've talked about, but they are voting so that as we roll into geo tv operation in the next two weeks, we know exactly who we've got to get to vote. >> as the nuers come in on election night, two scenarios. the first is mitt romney wins ohio. what does that tell you about what we can expect on tuesday november 6? >> i think a become president. i think the way to ohio gross will determine that. they have the longest streak of picking the correct winner. no republican has won the white house without ohio. john f. kennedy hasn't been able to win without ohio, so it's a pivotal state because it's probably the best barometer, the best political barometer in the country. on election night, rummy will have to do very well for early votes coming from the southwestern part of the state. we will see how both candidates to a central ohio, referred to
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as the spring as part of a swing state in moc to ground into to miss talking about, how good that was for president obama in the northeast part of the state and cleveland. typically republicans jump out of the lead early and then it's a question of whether democrats get out to vote and candidates began to comment whether they have enough strength to overturn that. it's going to be a sassy night. we'll expected to be a long night. we hear this all the time, but i honestly believe as ohio goes, so will go the president. >> you think of her obama wins ohio is over. >> there's no way mathematically that i can see that the 270 electoral votes about the team from ohio. the romney campaign attacked when the senior strategist last week. he told me there's a strategy to win wisconsin. they'll need 10 electoral votes and they have to win a multipack to make up ohio. i don't see taken that risk if they lose here.
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i think obama will be reelected. >> alex, i'm just fascinated. what can you tell us about this employment, if any of senator portman not been on that ticket? is certainly would've made your life easier it would have have created a morning these yesterday base in the state, right? could we have staked ohio for the ticket if the apartment was on their? >> so many of us, myself included no senator portman. he's an outstanding person, jim. but paul ryan brought something else to this campaign and as you know and perhaps some of the viewers may not know he went to miami university, which is just up the road from cincinnati. we feel like it's a cincinnati connection. he shared that he used to go to ballgames, so there is a connection here with paul ryan. of course those of us who know and love rob portman would love to see have seen him be on the
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ticket. but that conversation occurred for about a couple of hours on that saturday morning and those of us down here on the ground are energized. he's brought a new energy and has an impact for tea partiers and they're very excited about the young conservative voice who has a plan for the future of the country, a proposal and is talking about the economy. so on a personal level for us there was some disappointment, but we also are energized by paul ryan in a way that might not have happened otherwise. i don't know. >> tim, let me flip the question. a lot of people i spoke to, particularly moderate republican and democrat suggested to me that if the president had put hillary clinton on the ticket and put joe biden in the spot in the future secretary of state that would have reenergized, particularly for the crucial political womenfolk. but that it helps? is joe biden and that plus a net mr. election cycle?
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>> guest: >> i love hillary parachuted be a great candidate some point the way of joe biden surprise presidential candidate. we are thrilled with that. he really speaks to the middle class, k'nex exceptionally well with organized labor and with the democratic base. we came out of the democratic national convention completely fired up. our folks are out there and ready to go. the interesting thing about rob portman and i don't know that he would've delivered ohio to romney. i don't think that's the case. but the fact of the matter is when romney went in a different direction cannot rather than picking somebody who has a reputation as being a moderate and work besides, he went far to the right again and that is nothing but help us i believe. >> tim burke has assured the hamilton county democratic party. also in hamilton county engine heat is a political columnist
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and correspondent for wb ms tv and cbs affiliate from columbus ohio. gentleman can thanks for sharing your insight into ohio a battleground state the c-span gruppo and die. thank you. >> thank you. >> i think there's a lot of anti-obama folks out there. i didn't want to be either one of those. i wanted to write a book to describe an answer but i thought was the most important question, the most interesting question. look at barack obama for a moment as. here is a guy who is very little executive experience. his entire life is that the law professors left turns, the committee table at illinois state house u.s. senate foreign various meetings, but he's never the guy in the front of the room deciding, making the hard calls. he is very little if any management experience and
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suddenly he's in the most important managerial job, president of the united states, leader of the free world. so my question was, how does he do it? how did you decide? have to make decisions? how does he govern?
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>> homeland security secretary, janet napolitano testified today at a senate hearing about terrorism and national security. here is part of that hearing was her opening statement. first, we'll hear from senator joe lieberman of susan collins. >> obviously we hold this hearing today, still mourning the deaths of the american ambassador to libya, chris stevens and three other state department personnel. still speaking personally, infuriated by those attacks that resulted from a movement against what i too believe a terrorist act against our conflict in benghazi. on the 11th anniversary of the attacks of september 11. these attacks do many things, but they remind us i think first of the bravery and commitment of government officials who serve
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in countries around the world, supporting the struggles of people in those countries to live free. and by doing so, we are to improve our own national security. the attack and libya also reminds us that even though the core of al qaeda has been seriously weakened, we still face drive from an evolving and fractures that are terrorist groups and individuals united by a common ideology, which is islamist extremism. i will have some questions to ask the three of you about the nature of the terrorist threat today and specifically with regard with reaction to this film, whether you think it does raise the threat level again and he pleases their institutions sheeter in the united states.
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and reported to us on the terrorist threat to the homeland today also hope you'll address other concerns such as the effort to counter homegrown violent islamist group and the threat to our homeland and people in a different way over the last couple of years, posed by the islamic republic of iran. it is an iranian guard corps and the cause for his party date and its proxy groups such as have a lot, which certainly seemed to be reaching outside of their normal areas of operation and the in the middle east and conducting attacks all square, including an attempt of an assassination, which was thwarted on the saudi ambassador here in washington and apparently the attack on a bus in bulgaria just a short while
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ago. i would like to just say a few words about cybersecurity, which has been a significant focus of this committee this year. we know how serious the problem is, enormous amount of cyberespionage insider theft going on and increasing danger of cyberattack. as you know, the cybersecurity act of 2012, which is compromised bipartisan legislation that needed to the senate floor has had problems in getting enough votes to get taken up on the senate floor. we worked for years of partners on both sides of the aisle. we had extensive consultations with private industry and of course we went to a substantial link to find common ground, including making this hindered
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hindered -- the standards voluntary and not mandatory for the dirt for cyberinfrastructure. but despite the magnitude of the threat is recognized by national security leaders and experts from the last two administrations, regardless of party and the many compromises made, the bill was filibustered on the senate floor last month, so it couldn't. vessels lost the best opportunity we had to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation. of course all of you have said and direct your mauler has said most memorably that in his opinion the threat of cyberattack will soon replace the threat of terrorist attack is a danger for homeland security. i believe it is obvious we are not going to pass the cybersecurity legislation before
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the election and because were probably leaving here in the next couple of days to return after the election, but i think it is still possible and out at critical for the congress to pass the cyberbill this session and i certainly will continue to do everything in my power to do so. but i must say if the gridlock continues as a furor well, the president and others in the executive branch to do everything within their power as they doubt they are considering actively now to raise her defenses against cyberattack and cyberthreat, cybertheft. the fact is today because of the inadequate defenses of america's privately owned critical cyberinfrastructure, we are very vulnerable to a major cyberattack. perhaps a catastrophic cyberattack well beyond and its impact what we suffered on 9/11. i understand the executive
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action cannot do everything legislation can to protect deaths from cyberattack, but it can do a lot and as this session of congress concludes that the end of this year, we still failed to fix this problem can close some of our vulnerabilities to cyberattack. i certainly hope the president will step in along with you, secretary napolitano and act as strongly as you can to protect our country and i will be asking some questions of you would get to that point in the testimony. site thank you again for being here. i've looked forward to this hearing every year. it is sometimes unsettling, but really important as the reports with congress and the american people about the status of the current threat to our homeland. senator collins.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. last week we observed the 11th anniversary of that horrific attack of september 11, 2001. we can remember it if it done and heroes of that day and we acknowledge the dedicated military intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security professionals who have worked together to bring terrorists to justice and to prevent another large-scale attack within the united states. and i want to join the chairman and thinking he should do for your hard work in that endeavor. tragically, however, we have also witnessed violent attacks on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya, that resulted in the killing of our ambassador
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and three other brave americans. while these attacks remain under investigation, it is difficult not to see shades of the 1998 attack on our embassies in kenya and tanzania, which were among the many precursors to the attacks of 9/11. this tragedy once again underscores the ongoing threat we face, both abroad and at home from violent islamist extremists. in the aftermath of 9/11, we took significant action to address this threat. when senator lieberman and i offered the intelligence reform and terrorism prevention act of 2004, our aim was to improve coordination within the intelligence community and among
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the key stakeholders at all levels of government. achieving the goals of this landmark blog remains a work in progress. we know we face a determined enemy. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula has tried repeatedly to exploit holes in our security. the failed 2009 christmas day bomber used to devise, specifically designed to avoid detection. the 2010 pargo plot to circumvent improvements and passenger screening by targeting cargo. in may of this year, al qaeda tried again. the bomb maker apparently sought to avoid the failures of the earlier christmas day attack. through the aggressive efforts of our intelligence community, fortunately this plot was
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disrupted before it could threaten american lives. nevertheless, that operation was also plagued by leaks, apparently from within the executive ranch that may have undermined future offers and compromise sources. not every threat that we face has been that with sufficient resolve and action. perhaps the best example, which the chairman has mentioned is the ever-increasing cyberthreat. experts have repeatedly warned that the computer systems that run our electric grid, our water plants, financial networks and transportation system are vulnerable to a cyberattack that could harm millions of americans. in fact, rarely has there been such a bipartisan consens
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among experts that this threat must be addressed. just last week deputy secretary of defense john hammer he said the cyberspace took a darker turn, and quote this summer as three very large corporations experienced cyberattacks designed to damage operations. citing government sources, he says that at least two of the attacks may have come from iran. china and russia we know have also launched cyberattacks. to respond to this escalating threat, the chairman and i have works during the past two years to craft a bipartisan bill that relies on the expertise of government and the innovation of the private sector. despite our hard work to find common ground, the senate has failed to pass cybersecurity
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legislation, given the significant damage already done to our economy and our security as well as our clear vulnerability to even worse attacks, this failure to act is inexcusable. for my teacher secretary michael chertoff and cia turf michael hayden described the urgency this way, we carry the burden of knowing that 9/11 might have been averted with the intelligence that existed at the time. we do not want to be in the same position again when i cyber9/11 heads. it is not a question of whether this will happen. it is the question of when. this time, all the guns have been connected.
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this time the warnings are loud and clear and this time we must heed them. in contrast to the known threat of cyberattacks come another persistence we face comes from those that we fail to even anticipate what the 9/11 commission memorably referred to as a failure of imagination. the so-called black swan event that cast our assumption. these are our most vexing problems because we cannot simply build around every potential target. never the last we strengthen information sharing and the analytic capabilities of law enforcement and intelligence officers can disrupt the even more whether they are ones that we know well are coming for those that we have never before
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seen. in my judgment, which is informed by numerous briefings and discussions with experts, the attack in benghazi was not a black swan, but rather an attack that should have been anticipated, based on the previous attacks against western targets, the proliferation of dangerous weapons in libya, the presence of al qaeda in that country and the overall threat environment. whether the plot -- whatever the plots hatched by our enemies, i am also concerned about vulnerabilities that stand from our own government actions or failure. prosperity noticed what i believe to be the ine

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